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Who’s in First Place?

June 20, 2017

If I were to ask you, “What place does Jesus hold in your life?” then what would your honest answer be? I mean, really… if you were totally honest with yourself, God, and me, what place would Jesus hold? I don’t know a truly committed Christian who wouldn’t want to answer the question confidently with Jesus in first position, but what makes this a hard question to answer is our human nature. That constant fight between the natural and the spiritual causes the answer to fluctuate more than we’d like. There are days when Christ is in first place in our lives, and it shows! I remember serving as the interim Youth Pastor for Tonganoxie Christian Church last year, and spending an entire week with 9 students and 3 sponsors at the Christ In Youth conference. What an amazing week!!! It was an easy transition to put Jesus first, because our entire lives were focused around Him that entire week. We had amazing times of worship, deep conversations, spirit-led study times, team-building challenges, and some serious stuff surrendered at the foot of the cross. Christ had it all, and we were free!!!

Problem is, the week AFTER the conference came, and we all went back to life as normal. Work deadlines were still there, a return to school for the students loomed ahead, and the daily grind of life in a world where Jesus is decidedly NOT first began to take its toll. For me, the weekly grind of ministry began to unseat Jesus from first place. For our students, things like football camp, soccer camp, marching band, school prep, part-time jobs, girlfriends & boyfriends, “senioritis,” and even family got in the way of Christ having that first spot in their lives. Jesus was no longer first, and our lives showed it more than we wanted to admit.

In Colossians 2:6-10 Paul admonishes the readers: And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. 10So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” 

If Jesus is to be that “head” over us, we need to be deeply rooted in Him. We need to spend time with Him in prayer, in meditation upon His Word, and in submission to His Will for our lives. When I speak of submission, don’t get that confused with following a set of “do” and “don’t” rules on a piece of paper or written in a book. We can’t just check off some sort of list each day and expect that our lives will naturally place Christ first. Rather, we have to develop a deep and abiding relationship with Christ through prayer and meditation that leads us into a life of loving and voluntary submission to Him.

This is something Satan fights against tooth and nail. He will do whatever it takes to get believers off the path to a real and deepening relationship with Christ, and we must be aware of this if we are to combat his tactics! He will use anything and everything against us, including other believers who do not have Christ in the right position in their lives. Committed believers in Christ are not immune to this, and he works overtime against those who publicly declare Jesus as Lord!

So, I ask the question again: What place does Jesus hold in your life? 

Are your personal desires ahead of Him?

Are your spouse or children ahead of Him?

Are possessions, status, career, or reputation ahead of Him?

Are you struggling with sexual sin, either by yourself or with another?

Are you struggling with anger?

Are you trying to fill Jesus’ place in your life with food, alcohol, drugs, pornography, exercise, sports, or something else?

All of these and more can push Jesus out of first place in your life and plant themselves firmly on the throne of your life where He rightfully belongs. That’s the bad news. The good news, however, is that there’s never been a better time than right now to recognize the trend, repent through confession, and return Jesus to His rightful place in your life.

If you need some encouragement today, watch this video of Kristian Stanfill’s “Draw Near.” Skip to the 2:30 mark for the song, or watch the interview too!

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